Role of kitchen significant during inflation: Tarla Dalal

Role of kitchen significant during inflation: Tarla Dalal

Tarla Dalal (Second from left) with members of Jayceerette of JCI Mysore Royal City, in Mysore on Sunday. Dh Photo

Eager to learn ‘baking’, which seemed too alien to her, Tarla set out learning some dishes and rest was history. The grand godmother, who pioneered cooking classes in India, is 75 and is still busy sharing the secrets from her kitty. Ahead of her cooking classes as part of her charity event with Jayceerette on Monday, Padmashree awardee Tarla Dalal spoke to Preethi Nagaraj of Deccan Herald. Here are the excerpts:
How did you venture into the world of cooking?

I was a young girl who was due to get married to a chemical engineer who lived in the US. Then, communication was a costly deal. I literally hung to every word he spoke. He once mentioned he liked ‘baked’ stuff and I was curious about what it meant. Then, I went in search of someone who would teach me baking. That’s how the journey started.My friends who tasted the dishes wanted to learn. But my mother-in-law was vehemently against it. She said ‘we don’t take up maharaj’s (cook) job as profession. NO WAY’. But, my husband convinced her and my classes began in our house — in 1966. Six students/friends paid me Rs 20 each.

How did Tarla Dalal go on to become a brand name?
Enthusiasm among women to learn new things is what worked. They were eager to learn and experiment and over a period of time, they have also turned calorie-conscious. It is a welcome change. My recipes were simple, dishes could be made using locally available ingredients and did not mean a lot of time spent in kitchen. With all this, I never compromised with taste. Today’s kitchens are a lot simpler, and easy to deal with. And, women have also become bolder and smarter with their cooking. It has added to the vibrance of the overall experience of cooking.

Inflation is hitting us hard. What role would kitchens play in the changing scenario?

The role of kitchen has been gaining significance over the years. Earlier when women didn’t work outside as much as they do today, the prices weren’t really a big deal. Today, we have double income; and gadgets help us like never before, yet the cost of every simple thing used for cooking has hit the sky. Today, cooking is a lot more economics than chopping, kneading, mixing and frying.

It is really a challenge for women, an enjoyable one, to turn things in their favour by being smart and innovative. Believe me, no one stops eating dal and rice when costs surge. Most sensible thing to do is turn cooking into a family event, and to cut down on eating outside. For those who cannot curb pangs, there is even a recipe book on fast foods. Even today, women continue to work harder than men and they will continue to. Multi-tasking is in our DNA. 

Role of kitchen is most significant in days of inflation. You can really retaliate in a rather healthy manner, without compromising or cribbing. It is just a matter of learning how to get around this problem.

How do you connect with your students?

We have our own website www.tarladalal.com from where you share, upload and refer to recopies. The website is quite extensive and has practical health tips too. And, I love facebooking! I have five wonderful women working for me at my Mumbai office, where we liaison with different groups for charity events. Now, after having received so much from Him (God) I employ my skills to do charity events.
 At Jaganmohan Palace today 

JCI Mysore Royal City Jayceerette Wing has organised a workshop on vegetarian cuisine by Tarla Dalal, at Jaganmohan Palace at 10.30 am on Monday. The expert will teach the crowd items ranging from appetizers to desserts.

The programme is sponsored by Sunpure, Dazzles, Abhinandan Jewellers and IFB. Proceeds from the event will go towards development of a higher primary school at C R Hundi, about 25 km from Mysore.

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